There are two main classes of verbs: (1) the large open class of lexical verbs (also known as main verbs or full verbs--that is, verbs that aren't dependent on other verbs); and (2) the small closed class of auxiliary verbs (also called helping verbs). The two subtypes of auxiliaries are the primary auxiliaries (be, have, and do), which can also act as lexical verbs, and the modal auxiliaries (can, could, may, might, must, ought, shall, should, will, and would).Notes on Verbs and Verb Phrase.
Types and Forms of Verbs:
- Ten Types of Verbs
- Ten Quick Questions and Answers About Verbs and Verbals in English
- Auxiliary Verbs and Lexical Verbs
- Base Form
- Catenative Verbs
- Causative Verbs
- Compound Verbs
- Denominal Verbs
- Dynamic Verbs and Stative Verbs
- Finite Verbs and Nonfinite Verbs
- Hidden Verbs
- Intransitive Verbs and Transitive Verbs
- Irregular Verbs and Regular Verbs
- Light Verbs
- Linking Verbs
- Main Verbs
- Mental-State Verb
- Performative Verbs
- Phrasal Verbs and Prepositional Verbs
- Primary Verbs
- Principal Parts of a Verb
- Psych Verbs
- Reporting Verbs
- Serial Verbs
Etymology:From the Latin, "word"
- "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
- "In the whole vast configuration of things, I'd say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider."
(Jimmy Stewart, It's a Wonderful Life)
- "Automobiles, skirting a village green, are like flies that have gained the inner ear--they buzz, cease, pause, start, shift, stop, halt, brake, and the whole effect is a nervous polytone curiously disturbing."
(E.B. White, "Walden")
- "Behind the phony tinsel of Hollywood lies the real tinsel."
- "Some people say that I must be a terrible person, but it is not true. I have the heart of a young boy in a jar on my desk."
- "There are so many ways for speakers to see the world. We can glimpse, glance, visualize, view, look, spy, or ogle. Stare, gawk, or gape. Peek, watch, or scrutinize. Each word suggests some subtly different quality . . .."
(Joshua Foer, "Utoipian for Beginners." The New Yorker, December 24 & 31, 2012)
- "Don't you dare use 'party' as a verb in my shop."
(Dylan Moran, Black Books)
- "I am a serious little nerd. You see, I use verbs. Verbs are our friends. They help move along our sentences."
(Steve Urkel in Family Matters)
- "Verbs add drama to a random grouping of other words, producing an event, a happening, an exciting moment. They also kick-start sentences: without them, words would simply cluster together in suspended animation, waiting for something to click."
(Constance Hale, Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose. Three Rivers Press, 2001)
- "A better way to recognize the verb . . . is by its form, its -s and -ing ending; verbs also have an -ed and an -en form, although in the case of some irregular verbs these forms are not readily apparent. And every verb, without exception, can be marked by auxiliaries."
(Martha Kolln, Understanding English Grammar, 1998)
- Among the formal characteristics of English verbs are that they typically:
- "Some verbs are recognizable by form because they have been created from other parts of speech with derivational verb-making morphemes (falsify, enrage). Verbs are also recognizable because of their ability to change form through inflection, by taking endings that indicate third-person singular (eats), past tense (ate), past participle (eaten), and present participle (eating). But in isolation, without a context, it is impossible to tell whether words like dog/dogs and head/heads are nouns or verbs."
(Thomas P. Klammer, et al., Analyzing English Grammar. Pearson, 2007)
- Dynamic Verbs
"Dynamic verbs are the classic action words. They turn the subject of a sentence into a doer in some sort of drama. But there are dynamic verbs--and then there are dynamos. Verbs like has, does, goes, gets and puts are all dynamic, but they don’t let us envision the action. The dynamos, by contrast, give us an instant picture of a specific movement. Why have a character go when he could gambol, shamble, lumber, lurch, sway, swagger or sashay? . . .
"Verbs can make or break your writing, so consider them carefully in every sentence you write. Do you want to sit your subject down and hold a mirror to it? Go ahead, use is. Do you want to plunge your subject into a little drama? Go dynamic. Whichever you select, give your readers language that makes them eager for the next sentence."
(Constance Hale, "Make-or-Break Verbs." The New York Times, April 16, 2012)